Contact me at because I'm always up for a natter about anything. Well, mostly.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Classic Film Review: The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

The Glass Bottom Boat stars Doris Day as Jennifer Nelson. At work she begins a relationship with the head of the aerospace research lab, Bruce Templeton (Rod Taylor), but their relationship becomes complicated when he starts to suspect she's a Russian spy out to steal his latest invention. The cast includes Arthur Godfrey as Jennifer's father, Dick Martin as Bruce's colleague and friend, Zack, and Paul Lynde as Homer Cripps, security guard.

Perhaps the first thing to say is that the glass bottom boat of the title only plays a small part in the film. Yes, it makes for a catchy title but that's about all, aside from some laboured metaphors that you really have to reach for. The action really takes place at the research facility, documenting Jenny's romance with Bruce and how his colleagues come to suspect she's leaking secrets to the Russians - it is rather suspicious to make phone calls several times a day and never speak to anyone but that's the way Vladimir the dog gets his exercise. It's also unfortunate that her father communicates with her via radio instead of phone. It all adds up to a pretty funny farce that really comes alive in the last half an hour or so.

Doris Day is excellent as widower Jenny while Rod Taylor works well opposite her as Bruce. The gems are the supporting cast though, with many others aside from the ones mentioned above putting life into little characters. For me, though, the highlight of them all is Paul Lynde, if only for his drag escapade to entrap the spy. The party that forms part of the climax of the film is full of hilarious moments and if the entire film had been at that pace it would've been brilliant. However, setting up all the dominoes early on seems to take far more time than it should've done and, unfortunately, the attempts to create a plausible romance between Jenny and Bruce take too much time for a farcical comedy. There are little interludes, such as the trip on a boat using electronic controls that goes disastrously wrong. There's an element of technology-gone-wrong about the film that works very well. And, strangely, watching Doris Day interact with a dog-like vacuum cleaner isn't that different to watching her interact with the real animals in the film.

Nonetheless, this was very funny and definitely worth watching. It might not be all about the glass bottom boat but it is all about Doris Day being brilliant and I could never say no to that.

No comments: